Harrison Phillips Jersey

How Harrison Phillips is supporting Buffalo area youth

Harrison Phillips has only been back in Western New York for a few weeks but is already making a big difference.

On Thursday, April 11, the second-year defensive tackle spent his afternoon giving back to young Bills fans when he visited Rachel’s Mediterranean Grill and John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

In support of “Rachel’s Round Up,” a month-long campaign which gives guests an opportunity to round up their order total for a good cause, Phillips ate lunch at the restaurant’s Hamburg location. While on the scene, Phillips also got a chance to interact with fans and sign autographs.

With each round up benefiting John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, it was only fitting for the hospital to be Phillips’s next stop. Going room to room, he and veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander delivered Bills-themed goodies and smiles in the process.

“I just have a big love for the youth and obviously [an] understanding [for] all the things they’re going through,” said Phillips. “We went to the 12th floor which was pediatric cancer as well as epilepsy. So, knowing that those kids have lifelong struggles and…very big things to overcome, just to go in and be a little bit of a ray of sunlight… [is great]. Just to get their mind off what they’re going through for the 15-20 minutes that we could have with each kid [was my goal]. I’m sure I got more out of it than they did too.”

With one year of experience under his belt, Phillips is hopeful that he can continue to strengthen his bond with the community during the upcoming 2019 season.“That’s one of the things I was looking the most forward to [in year two],” said Phillips about his community involvement. “[I’m] very optimistic about the future of Buffalo as a football team and myself as a Bill…But the thing I was also extremely looking forward to was having…more time on my hands to actually get out into the community, [to] see what Buffalo’s all about and the more I go out, [the more] I realize this is such a beautiful city and has so much to offer…”

McCoy to serve as honorary coach

Running back LeSean McCoy will serve as an honorary coach at the University of Pittsburgh’s annual spring football Blue-Gold Game on Saturday at 1 p.m.

McCoy will be joined on the sideline by another former Pitt great, the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald. Together the two have combined for 11 NFL Pro Bowls.

“When you think about NFL players who have set the standard at their positions over the last decade, Aaron Donald and LeSean McCoy are definitely high on that list,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Our current players walk past their images every day in our facility. They performed at the highest levels while at Pitt and continue to do it in the pros. We are thrilled Aaron and LeSean will be with us on Saturday. It’s going to be a lot of fun seeing them on our sideline again decked out in Blue and Gold.”

McCoy spent two seasons at Pitt before declaring for the 2009 NFL draft. He racked up 2,816 yards and 36 touchdowns. His yards and 35 rushing touchdowns are the most by any freshman or sophomore in Pitt history.Since joining the NFL, McCoy has 10,606 rushing yards and is the only player in NFL history with 10,000+ rushing yards, 400+ receptions, 80+ touchdowns and a 4.5 yard per carry average. He’s been named to six Pro Bowls and was the NFL rushing champion in 2013.

Who made the most stops on defense this year?

The Bills defense was good this year there’s no denying that. Just how good were they? Buffalo held opponents to 294.1 yards per game this year. Only two teams, Arizona and Miami, averaged less yards per game on offense. The Bills also held teams to a league low 179.2 yards through the year.

But it wasn’t the secondary that made the most defensive stops this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, four of the top five spots for defensive spots are occupied by members of the front seven. In order, Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, Lorenzo Alexander, Jerry Hughes and Jordan Poyer lead the way.The Bills youth movement of Edmunds and Milano had the two most with 38 and 37 spots respectively. While the seasoned vet in Alexander was third with 32. Hughes had 26 and Poyer had 23.

Tremaine Edmunds Jersey

The Buffalo Bills sent out members of the team’s front office and roster to the podium on Monday as

the team’s returning players are visiting the team’s newly-renovated Orchard Park facility this week

for voluntary offseason workouts.

General Manager Brandon Beane and Head Coach Sean McDermott represented the front office. Quarterback

Josh Allen, naturally, represented the offense.

On defense? Your face of the unit was middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

While it’s not a surprise that the middle linebacker is representing the unit since the position is

referred to as the “quarterback of the defense,” it is something new for the second-year pro.

During Edmunds’ rookie year, the team had defensive tackle Kyle Williams in that role. The heart and

soul of the unit. Then there’s linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who’s still on the team. But no, it was

Edmunds stepping up to the plate… or podium.

“You know, it means a lot to me for these guys to trust me,” Edmunds said. “I’m going to take the

leadership [Williams and Alexander] showed last year, so take those things, you know, try to do it my

own way.”

Over the course of last season, it was documented how Williams began passing on the torch to Edmunds,

who’s not even 21 years old yet. In player-only meetings toward the end of the year, Edmunds would

start to lead the festivities, as Williams gave him that opportunity to.

While it might have only been a simple interview opportunity on Monday for Edmunds, it is a step

forward in solidifying his role as the team’s defensive leader.

“I’m young, I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready for the next step,” Edmunds said.

McDermott, who’s known for making calculated decisions, even if it’s a small, subtle one such as an

interview, said Edmunds and Allen both in those roles as the faces of their respective sides of the

team is an important step in his so-called “process.”

“No, that says a lot, it really does in terms of where we were last year, where we are now,”

McDermott said. “Still a lot of work to do, but to have these two young men come out, from the way

they carry themselves and represent the Buffalo Bills, I think it means a lot to not only myself, but

to our football team, to our organization and hopefully to our community.”

As a rookie, Edmunds made 121 total tackles, while notching 12 passes defended, two interceptions and

two sacks. Prior to joining the Bills, Edmunds had never held the role as play caller on a defense.

Having that experience coming into 2019 alone should allow the 6-foot-5 linebacker to push himself to

a higher level of play next season.

Josh Allen Jersey

Who can throw the football farther: Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen? Or Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes?

In February, prompted by the guys at Barstool Radio, Allen challenged Mahomes to a throwing contest.

On Friday, April 5, Mahomes responded to Allen’s challenge while speaking at a charity event in Rochester, New York.

Eighty. Five. Yards. That’s, like, almost an entire football field.

It’s doubtful that Mahomes and Allen will ever actually have their throw-off. And if they do, it likely won’t be till the 2020 offseason.

But that doesn’t mean bets can’t be placed on the event right now.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen: Who Can Throw a Football Farther?

Josh Allen: -150
Patrick Mahomes: +110

Before jumping into the analysis, I should touch on a few items. First, I believe that in the contest all that will matter is distance: Neither quarterback has mentioned accuracy as a formal component of the challenge.

Also, the contest must happen before the 2020 regular season for action, which means that this bet would likely take over a year to cash. As a result, I wouldn’t actually bet on this now. I don’t want to give a sportsbook my money to hold for that long for an event that might not even happen.

If Mahomes and Allen actually agree to compete, then sportsbooks will release (or re-release) lines at that time, and you can place a bet then.

But I’m going to write about this hypothetical contest now. Why?

Because it’s the offseason, the Alliance of American Football is dead, the NFL draft is still weeks away and I’m in the mood to write about some football.

So let’s look at Mahomes and Allen.

Both quarterbacks have strong arms, but the market clearly favors Allen. And that makes some sense. Based on the velocity they exhibited as prospects at the combine, Allen has the stronger arm.

Josh Allen (2018): 62 mph
Patrick Mahomes (2017): 60 mph

Last year, Allen actually set the combine record. He might have the strongest arm in the NFL.

But the difference between 60 and 62 mph is not that great: It’s probable that on any given day, Mahomes could top out at 62 and Allen at 60. Perhaps Mahomes could have hit 62 at his combine but he chose to take some velocity off his throws to make them more accurate.

And it’s worth noting that Mahomes actually tied the combine record the year before Allen broke it. Mahomes can still sling it. When he was a prospect, Mahomes did a spot with NFL Media in which he and former NFL quarterback David Carr competed to see who could throw the ball harder.

After one warm-up throw, Mahomes threw three passes of 58, 58 and 62 mph even though Carr’s fastest throw was just 57.

When fully warmed up and competing against someone who could actually push him, it’s likely that Mahomes could throw even harder than 62 mph.

But none of this is to take anything away from Allen. During the season, he consistently showed off his arm, leading the league with his 11.0 intended air yards per attempt, while Mahomes was sixth at 9.2.

Additionally, Allen had the longest completion in the league last year, throwing a pass to wide receiver Zay Jones that traveled 63.9 yards in the air.

What’s perhaps most impressive about the pass is that Allen didn’t even have time to set his feet fully and step into the throw. As for Mahomes, he ranked eighth last year with a longest completion of 60.7 yards.

But don’t forget that in Week 2 of the preseason he launched a beautifully nice 69-yard touchdown to wide receiver Tyreek Hill against the Atlanta Falcons. In terms of air distance, that throw from Mahomes traveled 68.6 yards.

Based on what we’ve seen, I think it’s hard to say that Allen should be the prohibitive favorite. To me, this looks like a coin flip.

I’ll take Mahomes at plus money down to +105.

The Pick: Mahomes (+105), whenever the event is confirmed

For daily player props, follow me in The Action Network app.

Andre Reed Jersey

For about an hour Thursday afternoon at Dieruff High School, Andre Reed was the subject of an interesting Q-and-A with special Husky students chosen for the event as well as kids from other parts of the country who were able to join in via video conferencing.

Reed talked about his career, his determination to succeed, his emotions when finding out he was going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, Colin Kaepernick and a variety of other topics.

He talked about how many hard hits he took as one of the game’s best all-time receivers and the vast number of concussions he suffered as someone who wasn’t afraid to go over the middle in an era when defensive backs could use crossing receivers as target practice.

It was an upbeat, positive session as the Dieruff graduate chose to come back to his alma mater when asked to participate in the Hall of Fame’s “Heart of a Hall of Famer” program, which brings the game’s all-time best closer to kids.

But it was when the national portion of the session was over and the video cameras were turned off that the most poignant moment came.
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That’s when Theresa Villano, a sports marketing manager and Reed’s girlfriend, stepped in front of the group in the Dieruff media center and reminded everyone — especially the students — of why Reed’s story is so special and why they needed to hear it and take it to heart.

“Andre came from freakin’ nothing,” she said emphatically. “That lady back there [Reed’s mother Joyce Reed-Ebling] had an abusive husband. He was an alcoholic. Andre had to pull his dad out of an Allentown bar at eight years old.

“He woke up to his dad, sleeping in a car, drunk, and hitting his mom. That might relate to some of you guys. Andre doesn’t always tell the story. Andre’s mom had to send him to a foster home. You look at him now and he has a street named after him and he’ s made it big. But he came from nothing. I know a lot of athletes and not one of them came from a privileged life. Think about it. This life you guys are living gives you grit, scrappiness.”

Villano’s brief, but passionate talk was intended to inspire kids to keep battling through the adversity the way her boyfriend did to make it to football’s biggest stage.
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“I have learned that a lot of you don’t have a life of peaches and cream,” she said, referring to the Dieruff students. “I know a lot of you have parents who don’t know what you’re doing. But you have the power in your heart and soul. You have the power in your own hands. Mom and dad might not be your role models.”

Later, Villano, who grew up in Alaska, said: “Life isn’t easy. But it’s the people who make the best out of it who are the most successful.”

Mike Mahkoul, Dieruff’s assistant principal who coordinated the event sponsored by the Hall of Fame, said the comments of Reed and Villano were meaningful for the 50 kids in attendance, many of them student-athletes. He said more than 60 percent of Dieruff students live below the poverty line and have far from idlyllic home lives.

“Andre coming back to talk about the character and qualities involved with attaining success was terrific and he also talked about the character and qualities involved with overcoming struggles,” Mahkoul said. “That’s critical for our kids. We encourage them to believe in themselves and resiliency is such a critical component with the challenges they face day in, day out. We want to empower them and let them know they can conquer their struggles and get to the next level.”
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Mahkoul said he appreciated Villano giving the kids some “raw, unfiltered facts about Andre’s life that are not often told.”

“It showed tremendous courage on her part and graciousness on Andre’s behalf to allow her to tell those things about his life,” Mahkoul said. “That story hits home and resonates directly with a lot of our kids.”

Reed-Ebling, who told her story to the world in the NFL Films’ documentary “Andre Reed: Road to Canton,” just before he was inducted in 2014, didn’t mind Villano telling the family’s story.

“It’s all true,” she said. “It should make them appreciate how far Andre’s come even more.”
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Reed-Ebling and Villano both enjoy seeing him work with kids.

The Andre Reed Foundation has an annual summertime golf tournament at Lehigh Country Club that has raised more than $300,000 for the Allentown Boys and Girls Club.

Reed is also proud to be involved with his READ with Reed 83 program, which inspires kids to read at least 30 minutes every day.

“You can’t read, it’s difficult to do anything in life,” he said.
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He will be making a stop at another of his old stomping grounds on Thursday — downtown Kutztown — where the City Cuts Barbershop at 126 Main Street will hold a special event that will pay kids to read a book while getting a haircut.

Reed said he played football from age 7 to 37 and wouldn’t have had the chance to play without getting an education first.

He is thankful for the opportunity football gave him to attain his dreams, but said that it didn’t come without a lot of hard work and dedication.

“Quit has never been a word in my vocabulary,” he said. “Never quit, always work hard. You will never know what you can attain if you don’t work for it.”

Bruce Smith Jersey

The Suffolk Punch. Lovely horse. So laid-back. In the DNA, surely? Bruce Smith shoots me a look. “There’s this phrase ‘the gentle giant’, and it’s a fallacy, really,” he says. Ah. I believe I’ve peddled that alliterative cliché in the past.

“You’ll get out of your horse what you put in. If you leave it to run wild, it’s just going to be wild. We’re back to training: set the parameters as a youngster and away they go.”

Bruce knows his equines. As a schoolboy he worked part-time on farms. Later, he came to Suffolk to be stud groom with the prison at Hollesley Bay, near Woodbridge – famous for its collection of Suffolk Punches.

Next month he becomes president of The Suffolk Horse Society – created more than 140 years ago as the “breed society” for the Suffolk Punch and doing its darndest to help this endangered species.“At the trust” – The Suffolk Punch Trust; a charity started in 2002 – “we were fortunate we bred the horses there and so they were handled as foals from day one. They were used to being brushed; used to having their feet picked up.

“If they’d been weaned at six months of age and then turned out on the marshes somewhere, until they’re two years old, they’d be a bit wild.

“People call them gentle giants and I think it’s because people have got this vision still of, in years gone by, work on the farms and the horse coming up the track, jogging along. Well, he’s just done a day’s work. You go and do a day’s work, and walk up the hill… it’s hard!”

Earlier, I’d strayed into similar territory by asking about the bond between the Suffolk Punch (the oldest English breed of working horse) and its human owner. I was probably being a bit whimsical.“Working with horses is really the same as training children and dogs. You start from a very young age and you’ve got to be firm with them (not cruel, of course) but also praise. The horse will know from your voice whether you’re pleased with it or not. If you show you’re nervous, you’ve got a problem.”

Bruce shares a bit of folklore.

“One of the old horsemen’s tales used to be the frog’s bone. You had to get a frog or a toad and kill it. Then you’d hang it in a hawthorn bush until the flesh dropped off, leaving the skeleton.

“You’d have to venture out during a full moon, at midnight, and take it down to a fast-flowing stream and throw the bones into the water. All the bones would wash downstream… apart from one, which would appear to flow upstream.
Willing workers. Bruce Smith, back in 2015, explaining the finer points of ploughing Picture: SIMON PARKER“That’s the one you kept. If you had that bone, you could handle horses… do anything with horses.

“People were far more superstitious in those days, and so if you were brave enough to go out at midnight, when the witches were flying, and wander across the field and go to this stream, you were of a strong character. And if you were of a strong character, you could handle your horses.”

Bruce grew up in the Southend area. A grandfather was a farm contractor in Lincolnshire. “I used to go up there as a kid, from the age of four or five, for part of the summer holidays.

“This would be about 1950-something. Most of it was mechanised but there was still the odd horse working on the fields, bringing the harvest home.” This early exposure to farming probably fostered Bruce’s empathy for animals and the land. Later, he worked on local farms before he went to school in the mornings, when he came home, at weekends and during holidays.

At 16, after leaving school, he basically left home and worked in agriculture. The years took him to Reading, the West Country, to Hampshire (for an interlude in civil engineering), and on to an approved school’s farm in Hertfordshire for three years.

Next stop, the original borstal, in the village of the same name in Kent. Borstals were for young offenders, and were designed to rehabilitate them through routine and education.

Bruce went to look after its dairy stock. There was a herd of Jersey cows that he used to take to agricultural shows – they’d actually come from Hollesley Bay – and three Hollesley-bred Punches.Then Leyhill jail in Gloucestershire, around the time of the prison service’s centenary in 1978. The Queen visited, and Bruce found himself the only person who knew how to plait the horses properly.

Perhaps someone noticed. The stud groom at Hollesley Bay was retiring, and Bruce was asked if he wanted to take on the job. He moved to Suffolk in 1978.

He had to learn about the breeding of horses, though, and was grateful for the guidance of vet Philip Ryder-Davies, for one.

Bruce had to take something of a DIY approach to ploughing with a Punch, too. “I had to look at pictures in a book and work out how the harness went on!” he admits. Stoke by Nayland farrier Roger Clark was someone who helped in these hours of need. Bruce says: “I could have turned up and said ‘I’m the stud groom at Hollesley Bay; it’s the largest stud of Suffolk Punch horses in the world; what a clever bloke I am’, and everybody would say ‘OK. If you’re that good, get on with it.’

“Or I could go the other way – which is what I did – and say ‘Roger, I’m having a bit of a problem here; what do you think?’ Because I’d ask, everybody was so helpful to me.” A lesson to us all, there.

There were about 30 Punches at Hollesley when Bruce arrived, and the site was a borstal, with the prison service running the 1,800-acre farm that helped young offenders develop a work ethic.

“Some of them hadn’t worked in their lives and didn’t know what it was. So having to get up early and appear at the stables at six o’clock – and mucking out etc – it was something different.”Hollesley Bay took horses to shows, and many offenders were interested and concerned when mares were about to give birth.

“Obviously they weren’t allowed out at night, but it would probably be the first question in the morning: ‘Has the foal been born? Can we see it?’”

Later, when the prison population switched to adults, the philosophy endured. “I can go to shows now and still come across ex-prisoners, who come and say hello. They remember their time with the horses.”

There was turmoil in the 2000s when the prison service said its Suffolk Punch stud was no longer part of its “core business”.

Happily, a campaign backed by the EADT raised £580,000 that would allow The Suffolk Punch Trust (created to help protect the critically-endangered Suffolk horse through its breeding programme at Hollesley Bay Colony Stud) to buy 180 acres of land, buildings, 25 horses and equipment. Bruce continued as stud groom, employed by the prison service.

But seven or eight years ago the jail stopped sending inmates to help at the stud. Bruce took the option of working for the prison itself, in ground maintenance. Today semi-retired, he works a couple of days there.

He still helps the trust, as a volunteer. He jokes that he does “the easy bits”, such as breaking horses in summer, while leaving the mucking out and cold winter tasks to trust grooms “who are all younger than me; so they can do the legwork!”

He also drives a horse for the Woodbridge & District Riding for the Disabled Association, and helps Banham Zoo’s head horseman take its Suffolk Punches to shows.

There might be 10 a year, ranging from one-day events (such as the Suffolk Horse Spectacular) to the longer Countryfile Live jamboree at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (three years running, so far).

Career highlights for Bruce include travelling up and down the country for events, triumphing at the Royal Show, and the winning of a Butler Trust award for prison staff in the 1990s – for working with horses and young offenders. It was presented at Buckingham Palace.

For one of the Queen’s jubilee celebrations he was at Windsor for a week-long gathering of “the Queen’s horses”. These included army horses, horses from Sandringham, and Suffolk Punches from Hollesley. There were displays in front of the royals, with the grand finale featuring 1,000 horses.

Bruce has met most of the Royal Family. The Princess Royal, patron of the Suffolk Horse Society, has been to the prison twice, and also The Suffolk Show.

“She’s always quite chatty. She gets talking about horses – we both get talking about horses – and you can see the people standing beside her, looking at their watches, thinking ‘We’ve got to move on…’”

Daft question, but has he ever been injured by a heavy horse? “Fortunately not.” We both touch wood. “I did have a couple of kicks, where I was limping 
around for a while, and a 
stallion bit me once on the 
chin. Parham Rufus. Apart from that, I’ve been pretty unscathed.” And, in regular life, overcome bowel cancer and angina.

There are no thoughts of permanent retirement. Wife Christine (they have three sons and two grandchildren) also still works.

Bruce is off to a heart rehabilitation class later today – a good workout for an hour – and tonight has another keep-fit class. All this after taking the dogs for a morning walk.

“I think you’ve got to keep active. It’s no good thinking ‘I’ve retired; that’s it’, and sitting in the armchair with the dog on my lap, watching Jeremy Kyle. You’ve got to get out.”

Our talk over, he’s off to help someone by collecting some bar stools. Rather than take the car, he should have a Suffolk Punch stabled in the back garden, able to pull a cart, I suggest (not very seriously).

I’m shot another look. “Let someone else have the worry and the vet’s bills, and the chewing of things…” he smiles.

What’s the future for Suffolk Horses?

Bruce was reading a heavy horse magazine before I arrived at his home near the Suffolk coast. There are roughly 135 to 140 Suffolk Horse breeding mares and 26 or so stallions. The total population is around 500. Not really going up.

The main issue isn’t so much breeding Punches but being able to sell what you breed, he says.

If you’re lucky, you might get a couple of thousand pounds for a foal. Against that, you’ve likely had to pay for the mare to be impregnated, there are probably livery fees and travelling costs, and vets’ bills. You’ve got to keep the mother for 11 months. Then, when the foal is born, you keep that for six months before it’s weaned.

“It’s a lot of cost. That’s where the big problem is. If there was a market…

“The farmers don’t need them any more; the breweries don’t use them any more (for pulling wagons loaded with beer barrels). My generation are happy to pass on our skills to younger people, but there is limited employment. That means that as we get older and die, the skills are going to go.” But there is evidence of optimism. More heavy horses are being ridden – ideal for the larger rider – and there are more “ridden classes” at events such as county shows.

Then there are what are called ladies’ carts – two wheels, lightweight, a bit like a pony and trap, pulled by a single horse. You can put a picnic on the back and go for a nice long drive.

The Suffolk Horse Society is striving hard, along with owners, to encourage breeding and thus increase numbers.

The most recent addition to the ranks is Bluegum Lady Aurora – born (following artificial insemination) on February 15 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The sire was Colony Edward and the dam Capleach Eugenie.

The Suffolk Horse Society is a bit like the equine version of the canine Kennel Club. It defines the breed standard, and keeps a register of foals and horses. It raises money to promote the breed and gives grants as a breeding incentive to boost numbers.

Bruce is currently vice-president of the Suffolk Horse Society, and last year his name was put forward as the next president. “It’s quite an honour,” he acknowledges. “Not everybody gets that.”

There have been quips that he’s a commoner among the ranks of the titled – and it’s true the presidency has been held by a number of lords and ladies – but the chain of office has been worn by others without a title.

He doesn’t really have an agenda for his year as president, though he intends generally to encourage people, attend shows and present prizes

Thurman Thomas Jersey

Lancaster native Erin Meyer has been attending Bills games since she was eight years old.

A tradition that spans three generations in her family, Meyer’s love for her hometown team was instilled in her by her father and grandfather.

“My grandpa and my grandma had season tickets since that time [1965] and my dad kind of took over and started going to the games in ’74,” Meyer explained. “…I’ve been to the games since I couldn’t see over my seat and I’ve had them ever since. – three generations.”

Although things have changed over time, one thing that has never wavered is the Meyer family’s support for the Bills.

“Just being young and going to those games, in the seats [I have] now [is one of my best memories],” she said. “I just love telling everyone that I couldn’t see over the blue bar because I’m in Row 1. Now I bring a lot of friends with me and I’m like, ‘…I’ve been going to these games since I was eight years old and now it’s just amazing that I’m 34 years old and I still get to live on this tradition that we have.’ So, definitely going to the games with my dad and my grandpa has been amazing.”

A die-hard fan, and proud Season Ticket Member, through-and-through, she can’t help but reflect fondly on her experiences watching Bills games over the years.

Getting to see greats like Cornelius Bennett, Thurman Thomas and Kyle Williams take the field have made her time as a fan truly special. On the current team, Meyer can barely contain her excitement about Bills second-year signal caller Josh Allen.

When it comes to tailgating, she compares the festivities to a holiday. That’s how special Sundays at New Era Field are for her.

“Tailgating is pretty much Christmas Eve on every Sunday morning,” said Meyer. “I love tailgating… I’m there as soon as I can, at 8 a.m. [or] 9 a.m. It’s just an all-day event. I really like getting together. It’s a smaller party now but it’s like a huge community and everyone just loves hanging out and it really is just like Christmas Eve. I love that.”

The fun doesn’t stop with the tailgate though.

“I think the game itself – just being there [is what I enjoy],” she explained. “There are so many moments that I get emotional inside [the stadium], just when it gets so loud and there’s a touchdown. When the receiver just brings it all the way down the field – those highlight emotional plays just really get me going.”

O. J. Simpson Jersey

The killing this week of Nipsey Hussle, a rapper and advocate for the communities of South Los Angeles, sent a painful tremor throughout those neighborhoods and the music industry.

Now the man charged in his death, Eric Holder, is being represented by another Los Angeles figure: Christopher Darden, who became a household name when he helped prosecute — unsuccessfully — O.J. Simpson in 1995 for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman.

Here’s a look at Mr. Darden, the man who famously asked Mr. Simpson to try on the bloody glove.
What has Mr. Darden been doing since the Simpson trial?

After leaving the district attorney’s office, Mr. Darden worked as a law professor, and was a co-writer on several legal thrillers as well as “In Contempt,” a behind-the-scenes account of the Simpson case that The New York Times called “powerful and affecting.”

The Times’s review noted the personal consequences that Mr. Darden said he suffered as Mr. Simpson’s lead lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., manipulated the issue of race during the trial: “The defense lawyer’s suggestion that Mr. Darden was a token black recruited by the prosecution team for the color of his skin led to accusations, on the street, that he was ‘an Uncle Tom, a sellout, a house Negro,’ Mr. Darden says. He writes that he received death threats and was spat upon, and that his family, too, was harassed.”

Mr. Darden also became a defense lawyer and worked as a commentator on legal cases for a number of television networks.
Is it common for prosecutors to become defense lawyers?

Yes. Many law school graduates favor starting their careers as prosecutors. It pays less than some of them could make in private practice, but it provides invaluable court experience early in their careers, while their more highly paid law school classmates who take private jobs spend their time on legal research and helping more seasoned lawyers prepare cases.

Prosecution work also teaches them the ins-and-outs of plea bargaining and negotiations between lawyers, which is how the overwhelming majority of criminal cases are resolved. So when they hang a shingle to become a defense lawyer, they can immediately draw on years of experience as prosecutors.

Many of the criminal defense lawyers in any county seat are typically former prosecutors, while the best private lawyers who handle white-collar litigation and other expensive specialties often were once federal prosecutors. (Earlier in his career, Mr. Cochran had been a prosecutor in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.)

Did he miscalculate by asking Mr. Simpson to try on the bloody glove?

It’s the most remembered moment of the Simpson trial, which prompted Mr. Cochran’s famous exhortation: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”Mr. Darden addressed the impact of that pivotal moment, and his decision to ask Mr. Simpson to try on the glove, during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session in 2017.

“Quite honestly, I did not appreciate at the time the impact that little ditty had on the jurors,” Mr. Darden wrote. “I thought it was a kids’ rhyme for idiots, to be honest, but it was effective.”

He added: “I take responsibility for the glove issues, so if there is any blame or fault to be assessed, it fell on me. And it should be assessed to me, because I’m the only one strong enough to carry that burden.”

He said he felt it was clear that Mr. Simpson did what he could to avoid making the glove fit. “I hoped the jury would recognize that, but they couldn’t see it, because they didn’t want to see it,” he said.

What has been the reaction to Mr. Darden representing Mr. Holder?

Some have been critical of Mr. Darden, 62, for taking on the defense of a man charged with killing a beloved figure in his community. But as Mr. Darden made plain in his book, he has endured such criticism before, including being called a traitor for helping to prosecute Mr. Simpson.

Yet many lawyers hold strongly to the concept that everyone is entitled to a defense. In fact, Mr. Darden has said that if he had been a criminal defense lawyer at the time, he would not have had a problem defending Mr. Simpson.Mr. Darden has said that, as a young man, he grew interested in becoming a lawyer from watching trials involving civil rights leaders.

“I knew how important the law was to the black community, and I admired those lawyers who took those cases, and I wanted to be one of them,” he said on Reddit.

Jim Kelly Jersey

WOODLAND — Growing up with a New York Police detective for a dad, you might say Jim Kelly was destined to go into law enforcement.

While his father certainly was an inspiration, Kelly said he’s always been a public servant, and the former state patrolman and private security manager applied to become Woodland Police Chief after mayor Will Finn and others in law enforcement encouraged him to do so.

Kelly, 56 was born and raised in New York City, but he was stationed at Camp Pendleton and later the Marine Corps barracks in Bremerton after joining the Marine corps in his early twenties. Kelly worked at the Washington State Patrol from 1987 to 2016 and recently was security manager for KapStone Paper and Packaging. While the specifics of enforcement differ, Kelly said it’s the same work in his heart.

“Whether you’re serving the citizens of the state, or the county, or the city, I think it’s just serving. I don’t think it has any bearing on the size.”

In 2017 Kelly took on the department pummeled by years of lawsuits and conflict. And there are still some tensions there.

The city of Woodland in October settled a civil suit raised two years ago against former Woodland police officer Brad Gillaspie for $275,000. In that suit — one of two settled over alleged inappropriate on-the-job behavior from Gillaspie — a judge wrote that Gillaspie stalked the woman’s home, threatened her, and egregiously interfered with her family custody proceedings.

“When he came in, we had all kinds of challenges,” Woodland City Council Member Benjamin Fredricks said. “Just a tremendous amount of turmoil going on within that department. It was just a very difficult environment.”

When he joined the City Council in 2008, Fredricks said the city had “a lot of work to do” on rehabilitating the perception of a “good ol’ boys” network at the department. Under the leadership of Kelly, City Administrator Peter Boyce and Mayor Will Finn, the department has moved forward, Fredricks said.

“When I say ‘right the ship,’ that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” Fredricks said. “I’d say Chief Kelly has done a fantastic job leading the department through transition. In my mind it’s just a completely different environment, a different vibe, it’s just more positive, and I think that Jim’s leadership certainly helped. … The level of professionalism has improved immensely.”

As far as changes made since Gillaspie left the department, Kelly said he’s worked to improve accountability and supervisor leadership. Informally, he’s asked his first-line supervisors to have more conversations with officers, both to commend and correct their actions as needed. He said he’s also added to annual employee performance evaluations.

And as far as specific officer conduct changes: “I don’t know if there’s any (new) specific policy that is in place,” Kelly said. “The previous chiefs in my position built the foundation of this department, and it’s my job to keep the strength in that foundation as well as build the structure bigger, or stronger. … I think the officers know what my expectations are, and I think that’s displayed on a daily basis.”

The department is, however, still grappling with union-city negotiations. The police officer’s guild is scheduled to enter binding arbitration with the city over contract negotiations that have been ongoing since the officers’ contract expired on Jan. 1, 2017. Woodland police are still operating under that contract and haven’t received a raise since. Tensions flared at one point when the city announced it was considering contracting with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s office for law enforcement. That was only an information gathering exercise, Boyce said in September, but Woodland Police Guild president Derek Kelley responded that he and other officers considered talk of contracting out police services “literally as a threat to our livelihoods.”

The department has, on average, lost an officer and hired another every year over the last decade. Woodland PD now has 10 sworn officers, including Kelly. That’s as many as it is budgeted for, but he said the city needs more.

“Just like every other agency in the state of Washington, we’re always gonna be battling the manpower issues,” Kelly said. “There’s never gonna be enough staff.”

He’d like to have at least six more officers, Kelly said. His first priority has to be emergency calls for service, he said, but he’d like to be able to staff more officers in schools or at community events.

He pointed to police data that shows a rapid rise in call rates beginning in 2013. The department hasn’t grown since 2009, he said — and in that time, the number of police calls has more than doubled from 3,859 to 9,294 last year.

“I don’t know if there’s one thing I can attribute that to,” he said. “There’s nothing that’s jumping out at me right now that says, ‘this is the reason why our volume is that high.’ “

Kelly, who also officiates football and basketball games in Oregon and Southwest Washington, said he’s proud of his officers and that their conduct speaks for themselves. But he added that police nationwide are having to reconsider their public perception.

“The reputation of law enforcement in general is not good,” Kelly said. “I think uniformed officers, and even plain clothes officers need to make those extra efforts to … build upon a good relationship with community members.”

Doug Flutie Jersey

When most gamers think of football, the popular Madden NFL series is what first comes to mind. However, an alternative football title is under development for later this year. Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football 2019 is a title that could begin giving Madden competition. Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming title.
New Name, Partner, Logo

2019 will see a few changes to Maximum Football. The first things fans will notice is the name itself. The title added Doug Flutie to its name as they look to upgrade their game over 2018’s lackluster version. Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football 2019 also features Canadian, US Pro, and College football rule sets and fields.

Next up is the logo. The official Twitter page for Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football made the 2019 reveal official earlier this week.

The team also announced that they have partnered with longtime football analyst Phil Steele.

Canuck Play & Spear Interactive have partnered with Phil Steele’s College Football, to include their branding within the US Dynasty Mode of Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football 2019.

They have also partnered with Mokom Gloves and CanadaFootballChat among others for in-game gear and content. This should be a huge upgrade to the latest version as well.
Release date

While gamers are hoping for a bigger better version of a college gridiron game, they also want to know when they can get their hands on it! A release date is expected to be sometime in September of 2019. The game will be available for PS4 and Xbox One.

Flutie and the workers behind the scenes are making sure they get the word out for the latest release in a big way. Billboards are going up in Nashville during the week of the NFL Draft.Another plus for Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football 2019 is the improvement to the graphics. The crew is working behind the scenes on motion with real players in Canada to try and capture that real feel of live on the field action.

Sports gamers are hoping that Doug Flutie’s Maximum Football catches on following the 2019 upgrades. After all, it is football, and sports fanatics are always ready for a battle on the gridiron!

To keep up with all the latest gaming news, rumors and information, check out our VGR home page.

Kyle Williams Jersey

STORRS — Perhaps Kyle Williams could have opted to suit up at one of the Division II or III football programs in Connecticut and could have earned regular playing time in the secondary as early as his freshman year. The former Hamden Hall star took a much more challenging path by being a non-scholarship player at UConn.

With one season remaining Williams has three tackles to his credit, but if the events transpiring during UConn’s spring practice serve as a peek into the future, Williams could see more time in the defensive backfield in the 2019 season.

Williams spent the early part of spring drills getting work with the first team and seeing time with the top group when five or six defensive backs were on the field.

“I got reps at the corner and the dime package so I am just trying to show my worth at either position so when the season comes I will be able to be ready and contribute,” Williams said.

Williams is one of the few experienced options at the cornerback position along with junior Tahj Herring-Wilson. Freshmen Ryan Carroll, Shamel Lazarus, Jeremy Lucien and Keyshawn Paul all started at least one game at cornerback as true freshmen and there was a three-game stretch in the middle of the season when both starting outside cornerbacks were players just several months removed from graduating from high school.

Lucien missed spring practice due to offseason shoulder surgery so it remains to be seen how his role and those of the other rising sophomores develop under new defensive coordinator Lou Spanos and with Darrell Perkins back to coach the defensive backs. Paul was first player mentioned when UConn coach Randy Edsall was asked if any players surprised him during the first 14 spring practices. More young defensive backs will arrive in July so Williams has no guarantee of his playing time in the fall. Still, he is doing what he can to help his younger teammates adapt to college life both on and off the field.

“Just try to teach the guys consistency whether it is in the building, in the classroom or in your social life how everything affects everything,” Williams said. “It is just a giant circle when it comes to our lives as student-athletes so just teaching them consistency, being about your business when we are in the building studying film, in practice or in the classroom.”

Williams is already seeing his hard work paying off with the quality reps he is seeing in spring drills and he has no regrets about the path he chose.

“I am enjoying this experience because there are a lot of guys who came in with my class are all from the same area, we are all from Connecticut and a lot of guys who were here before me are from Connecticut and went through the process,” Williams said. “Matt Walsh, he is from Hand, he went through the same process as me. We talked a lot my freshman year about the process and how you have to grind it out and eventually you will be rewarded.”

UConn will scrimmage on Friday in the final spring practice of 2019. The decision was made to start spring practice a little early and not have a spring game. Edsall said he is happy about making that change. He’s said he has seen progress in offense, defense and special teams. Much of work, especially on defense, was focused on picking up a new defensive system. There will be extra time for players to take part in the conditioning program and to heal up from injuries. Edsall said there are no new long-term injury concerns heading into the final practice. Running backs Kevin Mensah and Art Thompkins were held out of Thursday’s practice with lower-body injuries and won’t take part in the scrimmage.

UConn is hosting what it is calling an open house and fan fest on April 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on campus with tours of the Burton Family Football Complex and Shenkman Training Center. There will be mini-clinics conducted, an autograph session and question and answer session with players and coaches. Admission is free.